Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Since March 10 food service workers at Seneca College's Markham campus have been on strike. Violence against the strikers in terms of cars running them down has continued since the beginning of the strike. The United Student's Against Sweatshops has organized an e-campaign to pressure the College President to ensure the safety of the strikers. Their appeal follows. You can read more and join this campaign HERE.

Tell Seneca College President Rick Miner to take responsibility for violence at Markham Campus!

On Monday March 10th Aramark food service and cleaning workers went on strike at Seneca College's Markham campus. Since then the level of violence against striking workers has been escalating steadily. College President Rick Miner needs to take control of a situation that could see someone seriously injured. Already there have been half a dozen incidents of cars striking picketing workers causing injury. Seneca College does not seem to be communicating the situation to the College community and students and faculty appear to be unaware that there is a lawful picket and that they need to be patient and respectful.
Tell President Miner to ensure the safety of workers at his college by: * Communicating that there is a strike and a strike protocol to students and staff and demand that it be respected * Telling Aramark to stop hurting Seneca's reputation and treat workers fairly Students across North America are learning about the safety issues at the Markham campus. The College's leadership needs to take action to protect the College's reputation.
The Aramark workers at Seneca's Markham campus organized last year and have been fighting for wage and benefit improvements and to address abusive behaviour by Aramark management. The workers make less than $10/hour, while their counterparts at other Seneca locations make at least $13/hour. Aramark, on the other hand, had sales of $12.4 billion last year.
Send a letter to the following decision maker(s): College President Rick Miner Director of Human Resources Phil Wong
Below is the sample letter:
Subject: President Miner ensure the safety of your workers!

I was astonished to learn of the current situation involving striking Aramark workers at the Seneca College's Markham campus. The level of violence on the picket line is completely unacceptable- how far does this situation have to go before you act?
Aramark is a wealthy multi-national that makes billions of dollars each year. Its workers at Seneca College's Markham campus mostly make less than $10 an hour. These low waged workers are simply asking for a fair first contract. Why is Aramark paying substantially higher wages at other Seneca locations and treating the workers at Markham as second class workers? Is the Markham campus somehow second class?
You need to take immediate action to assure the safety of everyone on Seneca's Markham campus, including those on the picket line. Additionally, you need to make it clear to Aramark that it is unacceptable to force workers to strike when all they are asking for is a living wage equal to what other Aramark employees at Seneca College earn. You should insist that Aramark offer the Markham workers wages and benefits equal to what Aramark's other employees earn. If Aramark will not do that, then you should find a vendor who will pay employees equitably and will not bring violence against strikers to this campus. Seneca's reputation as a world-class post-secondary institution is on the line.
Please, act now.
Go to to sign this letter and send it to President Miner.

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